In a recent interview with Business Insider, Autodesk’s product manager for product management, Jason Smith, talked about the challenges of product development and how the company works to get its product right.
He shared a lot of great advice for developers, but what was particularly interesting was what he shared about the process for building product documentation and how that was handled.
Smith said that it takes a few months of hard work to build a product documentation.
“We do a lot to ensure that the product docs are good, and we do a little bit of research into other documentation,” Smith said.
“If you’re new to product documentation, this is really important because the docs you get will be different from the docs that you use at home.”
“We know that documentation is a huge part of product design and that’s where our expertise comes in,” he added.
“There’s a lot we do to make sure that we know what’s in the product documentation that we need to have.
But there’s a couple of things that are really important.
One, we want it to be easy for the customer to understand what’s happening with the product.”
As Smith explained, there are three major steps in building product docs: 1.
Building a reference document 2.
Generating and storing a reference 3.
Documenting and making it available to users.
In his own words, he says that “we have to think of product documentation as the product itself.
It’s the way we build products, so it needs to be accessible.”
Smith also explained that the main goal of documentation is to provide the user with information to understand and work with the software and products that they are using.
“The goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to get to that point where they’re making an educated decision,” he said.
“The key is to do it well, and the best way to do that is to have documentation that’s really clear, that’s very accessible, and that it’s easy to understand,” Smith added.
Smith says that Autodesks documentation is “well structured, it’s well organized, and it’s not too verbose.”
Autodeskt’s documentation is structured around a set of guidelines, which Smith said, helps the user understand the product.
“I know I would’ve learned a lot more from a book than from a webinar, and I think that is a really important thing to do,” he told Business Insider.
Autodesk is very transparent about what they’re doing,” he concluded.